Wednesday, September 13, 2006

9/11: the shredding of a privileged illusion

We return to long held ideas and rethink them even though we suspect we will find little reason to doubt our beliefs. 9/11 is an event whose legacy drives us in that direction.

9/11 did not change everything, but it did change something. It shattered an illusion born of privilege. Some people learned what many around the world already know from hard experience. The world is a thoroughly violent and dangerous place. Sudden and violent death can be the everyday norm rather than the exception.

I live in downtown Chicago one of the most well policed and protected plots of land on the face of the earth. The mugging I witnessed earlier this summer two blocks away from where I live was a near statistical impossibility. The tourists, conventioneers, and people rich enough to live here must be protected at all costs. And they are. We have the money. Our money makes the place go and thrive. It's amazing how many of my neighbors forget this fortunate reality when discussing the merits of war. It is easy to choose war when you know you won't have to pay for it or suffer its consequences.

Some people are forced to chant and repeat, “9/11 changed everything,” as proof of their adherence and allegiance to a political ideology. The more introspective and honest response might be, “9/11 changed everything for me.”

The “9/11 changed everything” mantra signifies a desire to return to the privileged illusion that money can buy any amount of safety and security. It also unfortunately shows a lack of empathy for those who spend all their days amidst violence and destruction. Too many people claim they were victimized by 9/11 when they do not know what being a victim is really all about.

I wish I could say kinder and more productive words about the whole affair, but I don’t care to support certain peoples’ illusions. They do a good enough job of supporting it on their own.


At 12:56 AM, Blogger j.l.o.theoriginal said...

bitterness is very attractive!wholetruthy will keep tabs on you!!!

At 9:19 AM, Blogger -epm said...

Great post.

The events of 9/11 was like an atom-splitting even that spun America out of control in a million different directions. So much changed, so much stayed the same. I'm still trying to get my head around how we got from 9.10.01 to the country we are today.

I have this image of someone who went into a coma on 9.10.01 and just came out of it during one of Bush's speeches ... If I were writing the screenplay, this patient would have a similar reaction as that of Chartlon Heston at the end of Planet of the Apes.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Lynn said...

epm -

I have not read 1984 since high school. I might start rereading it today to see if it is dated in any significant way.

At 3:26 PM, Blogger -epm said...

It's dated in it's vision of technology, but if you don't get bogged down in literalism, the message is prescient.


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